The editors of the Journal of Teacher Education are pleased to be organizing our annual major forum for AACTE’s 68th Annual Meeting. This year’s session, “Equity, Access, and the Digital Divide: Challenges for Teacher Education,” will be held Wednesday, February 24, 9:00-10:15 a.m. (Be sure to add it to your personal schedule in the Online Event Planner!)
Our goal is to bring together representatives of stakeholder institutions and organizations to discuss how AACTE members, working together, might effectively respond to the challenges teachers face in using technology to meet the needs of all students despite the inequities posed by the digital divide.
The U.S. Department of Education announced Monday that Acting Secretary John King will start an “Opportunity Across America Tour” January 14. The tour will focus on King’s stated priorities for 2016:
- Promoting equity and excellence at every level of education to ensure that every child has the opportunity to succeed
- Supporting and lifting up the teaching profession
- Continuing the Department’s focus on returning America to the top of the rankings in college completion by ensuring more students earn an affordable degree with real value
In the coming week, King will be visiting Texas; Washington, DC; Delaware; and Pennsylvania. If any of the locations are in your community, you might want to attend to connect with King in person. The full announcement and schedule appear below.
Today, USA Today published a special centerfold feature on literacy in America, accompanied by a digital campaign by Mediaplanet. I was pleased to have the opportunity to author a piece for the campaign, published as “Expanding Literacy Beyond Language Arts.” In the article I describe work that colleges of education are doing to boost literacy among America’s PK-12 students. The 275 words available in USA Today scarcely begin to tell this story, but the message is an important one to get out. Here are a few additional words I’d like to share.
Literacy has become a keystone for all other learning, particularly because of our changing expectations around assessment. Beginning with the requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act and evolving into today’s college- and career-ready standards such as the Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards, students now must show competence in all disciplines via writing, speaking, and critical thinking.
Please join AACTE November 17 for a free webinar highlighting three AACTE member and partner initiatives that are developing strategies and action to increase diversity in the teaching workforce.
A recent report by the Albert Shanker Institute, The State of Teacher Diversity in American Education, identifies teacher diversity in our nation’s schools as “an educational civil right for students” that is not adequately represented in the current educator workforce. In AACTE’s webinar, “Advancing Diversity in the Teaching Workforce: Three Initiatives Working Toward Solutions,” participants in three initiatives will “tell the story” of their work, providing the background for their initiative, the key issues and challenges they are addressing, and the progress they have made to identify solutions.
Be inspired at the AACTE 68th Annual Meeting by Pedro Noguera, one of the nation’s most important voices on the state of education today. Noguera will speak at the Welcoming Session, to be held Tuesday, February 23, 2016 at The Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada.
An expert on school reform, diversity, and the achievement gap, Noguera is a powerful, articulate, and far-reaching advocate for a strong and vibrant public education system. He is Distinguished Professor of Education in the Graduate School of Education and Information Sciences at the University of California Los Angeles. Previously, he served as Peter I. Agnew Professor of Education at New York University and as executive director of the Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools.
A new nonprofit think tank led by Linda Darling-Hammond launched last week, aiming to inform education-related policies by sponsoring high-quality research on timely topics and making the findings easy to access and interpret. This Learning Policy Institute will target PK-12 policies at the federal, state, and local level and will both examine existing studies and conduct or sponsor new research to meet pressing needs for student learning.
In her Huffington Post article announcing the initiative, Darling-Hammond pledges to prioritize whatever works best for students over any partisan agenda. “We will follow the evidence wherever it leads, and will work with those of any political affiliation or point of view who share that commitment,” she writes.
The model standards of the Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium (ISLLC), developed in 1996 by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and last revised in 2008, generated controversy in the field during their most recent revision effort last fall and this spring. The National Policy Board for Education Administration (NPBEA), which convenes an array of stakeholder groups, is partnering with CCSSO to consider the feedback received from the field and make final adjustments to the new standards, now planned for release this fall.
NPBEA was among the groups that approved the original standards nearly 20 years ago and has been involved to some degree in subsequent revisions. Its constituent organizations* all have close connections to the work addressed in the standards, but some of these constituents felt their voices were not heard in the recent standards update.
A double narrative dominates contemporary discussions of teacher quality, leading to often-contradictory policies that stymie reform efforts. First is the democratic imperative to provide equitable access to a quality education to all students, which calls for broadening the diversity of the teaching force to better reflect student demographics. Second is the push for tightening quality controls such as GPA and testing requirements in teacher preparation programs, which results in a considerably less diverse teaching pool. AACTE Holmes Scholars learned about this paradox firsthand earlier this month during Washington Week as they explored the themes of diversity, equity, access, and accountability with a variety of guest speakers from national organizations.
AACTE’s Washington Week kicked off with diverse perspectives, enlightening anecdotes, and compelling conversations at the special conference “Progress and Factors That Contribute to Closing the STEM Achievement Gap,” sponsored by the National Science Foundation. Five presenters joined AACTE leaders on two panels discussing ways to improve learning outcomes of underrepresented populations in the STEM fields.
Hall Davidson, Vasanta Akondy, and Armando Sanchez-Martinez at STEM Conference
The conference began with presenters Armando Sanchez-Martinez, manager of Editorial Santillana in Mexico, and Vasanta Akondy, co-manager of the Verizon Innovative Learning Program (VILP), who together provided a global perspective on innovative solutions to increase access to STEM education in Mexico and India.
Sanchez-Martinez presented a comprehensive look into Mexico’s educational landscape, including a detailed explanation of sociocultural factors that contribute to local achievement gaps and of the current educational movements and solutions to closing the gap. Akondy highlighted the importance of VILP and its efforts to recruit more girls in India into the STEM fields. The aim of this program is to provide a community network of support while focusing on student engagement and providing technological resources to underfunded schools.
Earlier this month, we were excited and honored to attend the symposium “Closing the Gaps: A Policy and Practice Conversation to Advance an Opportunity Agenda,” presented by the National Education Association at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. It was a thought-provoking event, filled with great speakers and compelling strategies for closing gaps in student achievement and opportunity.
Panelists included Linda Darling-Hammond (Stanford University), Robert Balfanz (Johns Hopkins University), Kisha Davis-Caldwell (National Board for Professional Teaching Standards), Ron Ferguson (Harvard University), and many others. These speakers discussed gap-closing strategies, policy levers to support effective practices, and directions the education field will (and should) take in the future. They also consistently emphasized the importance of community engagement.
The U.S. Department of Education seeks applications for $60 million in First in the World (FITW) grants to support innovative approaches to boosting college attendance and completion among disadvantaged students. The 2015 grant competition, announced Friday and officially posted in today’s Federal Register, includes a $16 million set-aside for minority-serving institutions.
The following letter to the editor was published today in Education Week.
There are kids entering urban classrooms every day hungry, sad, tired, and angry. Name an obstacle to learning, and most urban teachers have seen it play out firsthand among their students.
In January, the Horace Mann League of the United States released School Performance in Context: The Iceberg Effect, a report on the “unparalleled levels” of poverty, inequity, and violence faced by U.S. students. Though outside factors such as these are not the reason for increasing gaps in achievement, they’re barriers teachers must understand and address to have an impact on student learning.
Editor’s Note: Professor Hollins inspired attendees of AACTE’s recent Annual Meeting in Atlanta during the Speaker Spotlight Session. (View a video recording of her speech here, and read another version in this Hechinger Report piece, which includes the video she played during her address.) To follow up on her presentation, we invited Hollins to explore her topic in a series of blogs for Ed Prep Matters. This is the final post in the series.
Most teachers in urban schools, as elsewhere, are dedicated professionals who put much effort into their practice and care deeply about the students they teach. Teachers understandably feel frustrated when their students fail to meet expectations for learning outcomes. How they address this frustration, however, makes all the difference for student outcomes—and it is influenced heavily by the ideology developed in their school’s professional community.
In the three decades since A Nation at Risk was released, the state of America’s education system relative to other countries’ has been a matter of heated debate. Along the way, public opinion has placed the onus for our schools’ perceived failure on teachers and their preparation, and education policy has echoed this assumption through an array of accountability measures for teachers and preparation programs.
One driver of the continued misconception about U.S. teacher quality is the highly publicized results of international large-scale education assessments (ILSAs) that suggest America’s students are performing far below other nations. At January’s press briefing for the report The Iceberg Effect, lead researcher and report author James Harvey explained that ILSAs have been misused and that the science behind them is highly questionable, akin to comparing apples to oranges.
At this year’s Annual Meeting in Atlanta, AACTE is proud to partner with a local organization, Arts for Learning, to give back to the surrounding community. Look for the designated table beside the AACTE Resource Center outside the Conference Community Center.
Arts for Learning at the Woodruff Arts Center aims “to transform the lives and learning of young people through the arts.” It is an affiliate of Young Audiences, Inc., the nation’s largest source for arts-in-education services, and reaches preschool through high school students. According to its web site, the organization’s “performances, workshops, and residencies encompass a wide variety of art forms, genres, and cultural traditions in the visual, performing, literary, and media arts.” Arts for Learning serves more than 200,000 PK-12 students annually in hundreds of schools across Georgia, with targeted supports for classroom teachers to implement arts-integrated instructional strategies, particularly those focused on literacy.